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Naomi Osaka returns to competition at Tokyo Olympics after mental health break

TOKYO (AP) – Naomi Osaka’s first match in nearly two months will face 52nd Zheng Saisai of China in the first round of the Olympic tennis tournament.

Second seed Osaka, who represents host Japan and is one of the biggest names in the Games, returns to competition after retiring from Roland Garros after the first round to take a mental health break.

Osaka holds a 2-1 career lead over Zheng.

The first seed Osaka could face is 16th Kiki Bertens, who is in the final tournament of his career. Iga Swiatek, the 2020 Roland Garros champion, is a possible quarterfinal opponent for Osaka.

In the men’s draw, top-ranked Novak Djokovic will face 139th Bolivian Hugo Dellien.

Djokovic is attempting to become the first man to complete a Golden Slam by winning all four tennis majors and an Olympic gold in singles the same year.

Djokovic recently won Wimbledon for his 20th career Grand Slam title, having opened the year by winning the Australian and French Open.

The draws took place on Thursday – two days before the opening of the game on the hard courts of Ariake Tennis Park.

Reigning two-time Olympic champion Andy Murray had a tough first game against Canada’s 15th-ranked Felix Auger Aliassime, who is ranked ninth.

Another intriguing first-round match will feature Kei Nishikori of Japan against fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev of ROC.

Second seed Daniil Medvedev makes his debut against Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas meets Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Half of the top 10 male players are not in Tokyo, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Matteo Berrettini and Denis Shapovalov all missing for various reasons.

Serena Williams and Simona Halep aren’t playing either.

Seeded Ash Barty – the newly crowned Wimbledon champion – will make her Olympic debut for Australia against Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Barty also plays doubles with Storm Sanders.


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